When we talk about Cambodia, the first thing that comes to our mind is the beautiful Angkor Wat. However, the gateway to the Angkor region has much to offer to the tourists that visit Cambodia every year and the name of this beautiful gateway is Siem Reap. Located in the northwestern part of Cambodia and being the capital city of the Siem Reap Province, this city has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The natural setting, the historical background and the wonderful hospitality of this place welcomes tourists from all over the world to discover its magnificent secrets.
Getting to Siem Reap
Numerous international airlines offer regular flights in and out of Siem Reap International Airport. Being the second largest airport in Cambodia, it offers all the necessary facilities that you would expect from an international airport of very high standards. You can reach the town center from the airport by hiring one of the prepaid taxis that are present outside the airport. The distance from the airport to the town center is around 7 kilometers and you can avail this prepaid taxi service or in case you have fewer luggages, you can also opt for the motodop or the tuktuk ride.
If you have made prior hotel reservations, then you might also get complimentary airport pickup and drop services as well. Bus services in Siem Reap are available for both domestic and as well as international travel. The domestic bus service has a ticket price range between $1-2. International bus services include trips to Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Although boat rides are available as means of alternative transportation, but in comparison to buses, shared taxis and tuktuks, this mode of transportation is quite expensive and time consuming.
What to do in Siem Reap
Everyone believes that Angkor Wat is the only attraction present in Cambodia, but the gateway to that offers even more. The beautiful locale of Siem Reap and its colorful and rich historical background provides a wonderful destination for tourists. The Angkor National Museum is one such destination in Siem Reap that is worth visiting. One of the unique features of this museum is the room full of one thousand statues of Buddha. Apart from this you are also going to get various other presentations that showcase the rich cultural history of this region.
Apart from the Angkor Wat and the Angkor National Museum, you also need to visit the sandstone temple of 12th century known as the Beng Mealea. The specialty of this temple is that you get to see the example of the destruction that this region has seen over the years. After visiting all these museums, you need to unwind and relax in the famous Frangipani Spa that is present in Siem Reap. Special massages with natural herbs and relaxing baths are a specialty of this spa.
If you wish to know more about the cultural heritage of Siem Leap and Cambodia, then you need to pay a visit to the McDermott Gallery that contains all the beautiful artwork that Cambodia has ever seen. Moreover, you will also get the opportunity to see all the beautiful pictures of Cambodia and Siem Reap bringing out its true beauty to the visitors.
Cuisine of Siem Reap
The authentic Cambodian cuisine is largely influenced by the seafood that you are going to find in abundance here. From shrimps to crabs, you are going to find authentic Cambodian food featuring these delicious combinations of seafood mixed with the traditional spices that this region has to offer. In Siem Reap it is essential that you do check out the authentic local cuisine. Vegetarians should not feel disappointed because Cambodian cuisine has a variety of vegetarian cuisines in their inventory.
You will also get options of Chinese, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, German and many other international cuisines to suit your requirements. There are numerous restaurants, which offer different international cuisines to the visitors of Siem Reap.
There are numerous hotels in Siem Reap that offer great accommodation and therefore you will have numerous options. There are budget hotels and as well as luxurious deluxe hotels in Siem Leap. However, it is always better to make advance bookings before you visit Siem Leap because at present it is one of the most sought after tourist destination in the world. You can try your luck by coming here without an advance booking, but you might have to face the issue of touts persuading you to opt for one of the pricier places, instead of one that might meet your requirements perfectly.
Nightlife and Entertainment
The nightlife of Siem Reap is exciting and vibrant. You are going to find numerous clubs and bars here with different themes that will allow you to unwind and relax. As part of the traditional entertainment, you can opt for the Cambodian traditional dance known as the “Apsara” dance. This is one of the traditional Cambodian dance ritual that is a must see and experience for every visitor to Siem Reap.
If you are fond of fishing, then you can opt for a boat ride to Tonle Lake, where you could spend your time fishing amidst the natural surrounding that Cambodia has to offer its guests. The simple boat ride itself is entertaining. However, before you do opt for one, it is always better to check the local weather news in order to ensure that the day will be bright and sunny.
Siem Reap also offers great opportunity for those who love to shop. The town center and the Old Market offer great options in terms of shopping and therefore if you are planning to make a bargain on your shopping, then this would be the place. The Silk Farms and the Craft Shops present in Siem Reap are great places to shop for authentic and traditional artifacts and craftsmanship.
In terms of attractions, Siem Reap has much to offer and you can start off by visiting Angkor Wat. This temple covers hundreds of square kilometers and it is simply an architectural marvel. It is important to know that this is an UNESCO world heritage site and one must visit it when they come to Siem Reap. Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre is another attraction of Siem Reap that you need to visit. In the entire Southeast Asia, this is one of the largest butterfly exhibition centers, which you are going to find.
The Cambodian Landmine Museum is another tourist attraction that is well known in Siem Reap. In the entire nation of Cambodia, more than six million landmines were planted during a three-decade long conflict period. This museum contains a huge inventory of diffused mines and this display reminds the visitors of the tragedy that this nation had to go through during the period of torment that this nation went through. Bayon and Ta Prohm temples are the next set of attractions that Siem Reap has to offer to its visitors. This is one of the world’s most photographed temples. And surely, if you visit them, you will understand the reason.
Taking a trip to Siem Reap is going to be a great vacation, since this place offers a great insight in the Cambodian tradition and culture. Siem Reap offers a great insight about the cultural, natural and the historical background of Asia and every tourist needs to explore it.